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Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Review
Cons: Retains residual flavors, difficult to clean, narrow mouth is hard to fill
Bottom line: A take on the Classic version, it's simple, sleek, and will keep your drinks hot or cold.
The Klean Kanteen Insulated shares some features with its cousin, the Klean Kanteen Classic. It has a simple and sleek profile, is made of stainless steel, and appears quite durable. Although it proved a better insulator than the other similar bottles in our review, the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated, and the Contigo Thermalock Glacier, it also fell (sometimes far) behind its competitors in a number of metrics. This Klean Kanteen is an insulating machine but is not very versatile. See how it stacked up in each metric below.
This contender is a 20-fluid-ounce vacuum insulated bottle. Our tests verified that this bottle is serious when it comes to insulating beverages, both hot and cold. It was also the only stainless steel bottle we reviewed that features a standard stainless steel cap, so you don't have to order an extra cap to avoid plastic altogether. At $30, it's four bucks cheaper than its competition. All these things are great, but this bottle's poor performance in taste and weight, as well as its small volume, held it back from bringing home any trophies.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Ease of Use
We found that this contender was not as easy to drink from as the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated, our Editors' Choice winner or the Avex Brazos Autoseal. Its wide mouth has a thin rim that is not only uncomfortable to drink from but also becomes very hot when we filled the body with hot contents. While it is bearable, the thicker rim of the Hydro Flask didn't get as hot, and was, therefore, nicer to use. Because we expect to be often drinking hot liquids from an insulated bottle, we were disappointed on this front. The narrow mouth also makes it difficult to fill, especially if you're handling hot water. We found it hard to use without spilling water on our hands when filling. A bottle that remedies this problem is the Yeti Rambler, which has an extra wide mouth, making it easy to drink from and fill.
Regarding insulation, this bottle won some points back. We filled it with ice and water, and it took 25 hours for the ice to completely melt. At 50 hours, the water inside was still ice cold. It also kept liquids hot longer than the Hydro Flask, keeping our coffee at a drinkable temperature for about an hour longer (approximately seven hours of hot drinks). The simple cap and bottle design are leak-proof. Also, the looped caps of both the Klean Kanteen Insulated and Klean Kanteen Classic were the sturdiest of all 16 bottles we reviewed.
Our biggest disappointment in this Insulated model came in the taste metric. Why? It imparted a significant metallic taste in our plain water and 24-hour taste tests. The results from the flavor retention tests were equally unsatisfactory, as our taste testers were able to detect the taste and smell of the sports drink in subsequent water refills. The Hydro Flask, and even the Avex Brazos did better in flavor retention, so if you plan to put lots of different beverages in your bottle, we suggest checking out one of these insulated bottles instead.
This bottle fared even worse when it came to retaining the taste of coffee. After filling it once with coffee, we were unable to remove the strong coffee smell from the bottle, even after soaking it for 12 hours in a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and water.
The Insulated proved to be slightly more durable (though not much) than the Hydro Flask, as it maintained its integrity after drop tests on its bottom and cap. The resulting dent on the bottom didn't affect its insulating properties but did make it more wobbly on a flat surface. The cap suffered only minor scratches. With proper care, though, this stainless steel bottle should last a long time. The other Klean Kanteen bottle dented more intensely than the insulated model, making it the most durable option from Klean Kanteen. Similarly, the Miir Slate 27oz walked away from our drop tests with only a few nicks and scrapes. Both bottles have the power coated finish that seems to chip easily.
Watch our drop tests here:
Ease of Cleaning
Because of its narrow mouth, the Insulated model was significantly difficult to clean, compared to the Hydro Flask. In addition, the internal threads on the lid of the handle collected gunk and were difficult to wash, reducing the overall score in this category. Do not wash this product in the dishwasher, as it will damage its insulating properties. The wide mouth of the Avex Brazos or the Contigo Thermalock were easier to clean but had more complex lids, so ended up being equally challenging to clean in comparison to the Insulated.
This bottle holds 12 fluid ounces less than the Hydro Flask, but weighs just 1.6 ounces less. For its size, the Insulated is pretty heavy. But, if you are just using it as a work specific bottle, this added weight is not a huge issue. The Thermalock Glacier weighed in at just about the same weight, with the Avex Brazos, being one ounce heavier. This shows that most of these insulated, small-volume bottles have very similar weights.
If you need a bottle to take hot beverages to work, this bottle is a great choice. However, after we went with coffee, we found we couldn't go back to water due to the lingering coffee aftertaste. Alternatively, if you are looking for an insulated bottle for cold drinks while at work or play, this bottle will serve you very well.
The Insulated model is cheaper but isn't as good a value as the more versatile and award-winning Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated. We found it to be on the expensive side, especially considering its limited areas of use.
The Klean Kanteen insulates beverages well. However, it does have significant drawbacks: it affects taste and has an uncomfortable rim for drinking. If you have $30 to spare and need a bottle to fill with your favorite hot/cold beverage for the office, this bottle is a great option. However, if you want a more versatile bottle, have a look at the Hydro Flask Insulated, winner of our overall water bottle award.
— Jane Jackson
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